XTERRA Europe director Nicolas Lebrun is optimistic the inaugural XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine off-road triathlon will proceed as planned on August 29, 2020 in the south of France.
“The coronavirus situation in Europe is improving and organizers for the new Nouvelle-Aquitaine event have received approval from the local authorities, federation, and municipalities to proceed with the event,” said Lebrun.
The host town of Lac de la Cadie, adjacent to the village of Mouliets et Villemartin, is just 50K from Bordeaux. The region is famous for its wine and easy to find accommodations from B&B’s to the many campsites nearby.
While XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine is new to the World Tour, the race was operated independently as “Triathlon des terres blanche” the past three seasons with great success by Clement Besse and Celine Champion of Time 2 Sport.
“Clement is a triathlete himself and in his younger years worked for big international companies such as Salomon and New Balance. This wealth of experience on the commercial side of sport helped him greatly when he transitioned to organising events,” said Lebrun. “And Celine is an ultra trail runner, so off-road triathlon was the perfect fit for those two as it complemented their passions and expertise.”
Last year the event hosted 800 athletes between their three off-road triathlon and two trail race offerings.
“Hosting an XTERRA was only a dream when we started this journey,” said Besse. “I always loved this sport and the brand, so since the start of this project my goal was to build an event the right way, and when I felt I was ready, to see if I could join the XTERRA family.”
For this first edition as an XTERRA World Tour event, in consideration of COVID-19, the trail run events have been removed from the schedule to focus on the off-road tris.
“The decision was made to limit the scale of the event due to restrictions and enable the crew to focus on creating the best and safest possible off-road triathlon races,” said Lebrun.
The racing starts Saturday, August 29, with an XTERRA Light (250-meter swim, 5K mountain bike, 2K trail run) and full distance (1.5K swim, 30K mtb, 10K run) event, followed by the “Lite by Night” race that starts at sunset. The medium distance (500-meter swim, 15K mtb, 5K run) will be held Sunday.
XTERRA elite Arthur Serrieres, the 2019 XTERRA European Champion, has been working with the organizing team as an ambassador for the event, and had this to say about the course.
“This race will be fast, but not easy at all. Most of the loop (16K) is on twisty single track, similar to Maui last year, but with the addition of lots of short climbs. I like it because it’s something different compared to the other current European races. I think it’ll be a close race and a good fight between the athletes from the start to the end. The run is like a cross country race, up and down. The countryside here is lovely, loads of vineyards, green spaces and Bordeaux is a beautiful town to visit.”
Lebrun, the only Frenchman to have won an XTERRA World Title and the first European athlete to be inducted into the XTERRA Hall of Fame, is excited to welcome an additional XTERRA offering to his homeland.
“For almost a decade XTERRA France has been a shining beacon of the European Tour and one of the true pillars of the World Tour with athletes traveling in from all four corners of the earth to the little town of Xonrupt in the Vosges region,” he explained. “For years France has shown our sport is much loved by its athletes with huge attendance not only at XTERRA France but all around the world, including Maui. It only makes sense that the country with the biggest European race expands to allow a second event to welcome the XTERRA Family.”
If all goes well in the months to come XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine will be the first of five events in Europe this season, followed by XTERRA Czech (Sept. 5), XTERRA Malta (Sept. 12), and XTERRA Greece (Oct. 17).
“Our XTERRA community of athletes and staff will be really happy to get back on track,” said Lebrun. “We all miss the XTERRA way of life based around our events, discovering new places, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. We will do it safely and with care for our athletes, crew, and the communities where we race.”
Find all the latest event status updates at xterraplanet.com/xterra-and-covid-19.